International Business Festival 2018

LIVERPOOL 12-28 JUNE

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A TRULY INTERNATIONAL MARKETPLACE

19 June 2018

It's the place where key contacts are made, products are showcased and inward investment agencies tempt companies into new horizons.

The International Marketplace has welcomed dozens of exhibitors from across the globe during each day of the Festival, and its proven a profitable experience for many.

"It's fabulous," says Agnes Fitzgerald, who set up Irish Business Enterprise last year, with the aim of connecting companies from north-west England with her homeland.Agnes Fitzgerald at her exhibition stand

"I came as a visitor last Tuesday and Thursday and was so impressed I decided to take a stand.

"We're looking to connect with any businesses interested in setting up a presence in Ireland to continue trading directly with the EU after Brexit. A lot of people came to the stand, so I'll be here for the rest of the Festival," she says, brandishing a handful of business cards.

Just across the hall, the Isle of Man's Department for Enterprise team has returned after a positive first week at the Festival.

"The conversations we've had today have been interesting and we're hopeful of some things developing outside the conference hall," said business development manager Paul Maddocks. "As a first point of engagement, it's been an ideal opportunity and we've had good quality delegates visiting."

Wim Dillen, regional development manager for the Port of Antwerp, is in Liverpool for the first time with the aim of increasing trade with the UK - currently its third-largest trading partner, accounting for some 15m tonnes of goods.

His target audience will be the Manufacturing and Global Logistics delegates later this week but he was delighted to host a royal visitor.

"It was thrilling to see the Duke of Cambridge and we were very excited to have him come over after an inspiring speech. It was a nice conversation which brought value to the port."

At the Liverpool John Moores University stand, Paul Dickson had registered so much interest in a scheme to help companies solve low-carbon energy challenges during the Festival's first week that he came back for Week Two.

"It was great because we got loads of regional businesses who were eligible for the project," he said. "But we also got wider international contacts. For example a Bulgarian company was interested in doing something around automated irrigation for agriculture using the Internet of Things, which is on of our areas of expertise."

Exhibition stands at the International Business Festival

Chris Russell, MD of Virrata - which works with manufacturers to improve efficiency, said he'd arranged meetings with other delegates via the online Festival Connect facility.

"We had a couple of meetings with different companies that might develop into something," he said. "The process worked well because it automatically merged diaries."

Kylie Reid, of hi-impact media, which produced a virtual tour of the Festival floor, said it had been a good day for networking.

"We've had a good day. We were interested in collaborations, more so than clients, today. We made some good contacts among companies who do similar things."

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